koko logo - a blue circle with the text 'koko - keep on keeping on'

Dealing with disappointment

Mental health

It was my cousin’s birthday and the whole family were going to the zoo. I was nine and we were excited because we were travelling in a huge orange campervan together.

We stopped off on the way for fuel and food and then had headed down the motorway until we started to chug and strange noises spew out from where the engine was. We slowed down as we approach the roundabout. My uncle turned into a field, put his head in his hands as he realised he had put petrol in his diesel engine (and that’s bad)

I remember sitting on this big metal gate as I watched my Uncle on the phone pacing back and forth, and then my Mum uttered the words that I did NOT want to hear – ‘I’m sorry we’re not going to be able to go to the zoo today.’

So. Much. Disappointment.

I had been looking forward to the zoo for so long and now we were stuck at the side of the roundabout with my siblings and cousins really starting to annoy me.

We sat in the campervan as it was hoiked up on the back of the tow truck, the drawers were flying open and stuff from the kitchen falling everywhere (it was actually quite fun) and with that we were driven home.

I don’t know about how you’re feeling but I feel fed up with 2020. There was so much in my diary for this year that I had to put a line through. So how do we cope or deal with that feeling of disappointment? It’s a very real feeling that shouldn’t be dismissed.

When you’re feeling a sense of disappointment try to identify the things that bring you a sense of peace, whether that’s taking a walk, having a bath, or talking with a close friend. Talking can be a comfort and a release, but it can often be more than that. Talking disappointments through with someone you trust can often help us to see ways in which we can learn to practise realistic expectation, control emotions or change our patterns of behaviour. I’ve been talking to friends about the disappointment I feel about 2020, but also I’ve been talking to God. As a Christian sharing the good and the bad with God through prayer is something that is not just important but also comforting too.

I was listening to the Body Coach Joe Wicks recently talk about how hard he’s finding 2020, he said this ‘For your own mental health do not neglect your fitness, it’s an amazing way of changing how you feel. It can almost change the chemical balance in your brain to make you feel better and more optimistic.’ A few friends of mine have started running recently and have said how different it makes them feel.

Disappointment is a part of life, and it comes in different extremes. Whether that’s a failed visit to the zoo, or experiencing your parent’s separation, a bad grade or the disappointment you feel when you’re grieving the loss of a loved one. We all feel disappointment at times, and if at the moment you’re feeling particularly sad and disappointed, go easy on yourself. Don’t try to do too much, too soon. Try to appreciate what you do have, get some fresh air, move your body and share those difficult emotions with someone that you trust. There will be brighter days.

Photo by Tobias Tullius

Back to all blog posts